Folkert de Jong was born in 1972 in Egmond aan Zee, The Netherlands, and studied at the Academy for Visual Arts and the Rijksakademie for Visual Arts in Amsterdam.
Folkert de Jong is probably best known for his expressive sculptures and installations arising from a strong fascination for the psychological and bodily human condition. Grotesque figures, grinning or expressionlessly staring, form theatrical tableaux. De Jong is interested in the transformation of cultural symbols and historical figures and a sculptural potential to re-examine existing narratives.
In particular, De Jong’s signature style is formed by his idiosyncratic use of insulation materials such as candy-coloured polyurethane and Styrofoam. A choice that was not simply an anti-hierarchical gesture, as these materials are pollutant and their effects on the environment radically detrimental. De Jong boldly merges the subject matter of his sculptures with their material, implicating issues of morality and self-destruction.
Recently, De Jong has broadened his material palette. He started experimenting, for instance, with the more classic sculptural material of bronze, taking in a more ancient relation to the monument and (im)mortalization. In another series, the artist works with transparent acrylic glass vitrines, enclosing foam assemblages of body parts and objects, as if preserved in formaldehyde. Although the psychedelic, brightly coloured plastic seems to radiate light; it also hermetically seals off its contents and filters reality. While De Jong’s ‘reservoirs’ therefore emphasise the theatrical effect of museum displays and refer to art historical uses of the vitrine, they also visualise society’s contemporary urge to conservation and a striving for immortality.
Folkert de Jong (1972, Egmond aan Zee, NL) studied at the Academy for Visual Arts and the Rijksakademie for Visual Arts in Amsterdam. In 2003 he was nominated for the Prix de Rome for Sculpture. Recent solo exhibitions include: ‘Court of Justice’, Galerie Fons Welters, Amsterdam (2015); ‘The Holy Land’, James Cohan Gallery, New York, USA (2015); ‘Actus Tragicus’, Luis Adelantado, Mexico City, MX (2015); ‘Hominid Lands’, Musee d’Evreux, FR (2014); ‘The Holy Land’, Hepworth Wakefield, UK (2014); ‘Amabilis insania. The pleasing delusion’, Middelheim Museum, Antwerp, BE (2013). Furthermore his work recently featured in: ‘Picasso in Contemporary Art, Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, DE (2015); ‘The Anatomy Lesson’, Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, NL (2013); ‘The shape of things to come: new sculpture’, Saatchi Gallery London, UK (2011); The 17th Biennale of Sydney: ‘The Beauty of Distance: Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age’, AU (2010).